Man in the Box / I Alone. (Open, feel free to RP)

They arrived near 7th and 6th Street and pulled into the parking garage. The church was just a few bulging over all the buildings in the area were old and made of brick. everything seems to be from the 1890s to the 1900s. On this side, there did not seem to be a lot of people. The sun was setting and the shadows of the building were casting their shadows over the city. This part of the city was not so clean with paper and other trash tossed around the area or blowing in the breeze.

As the teams arrive. There are some people walking mostly lower-income and homeless milling about on the Street. A few dogs and cats with birds flying around. The area is not being well taken care of except by the church.

By what Alyssa had shown of the area the church had owned most of the land in the area and the alley led to an old building that once belonged to the church and now a warehouse. Sung stepped out of the SUV and looked around. Sung walked to the back of the SUV and opened it pulled out his equipment, a vest, his sword in a bag and a shoulder sling for two knives.

“Get your gear ready, we will meet up with the others soon,” said Sung to the other dragons.

Choi nodded to Sung. Getting out of the SUV, he put the sword bag over his shoulder. The sword, his hands, and feet were Choi’s weapons of choice. His parkour skills gave him an advantage. Yeong looked to Eun-Ji. Up until now, all he saw from her was the illusions. However, illusions could confuse, couldn’t kill an enemy.

Alyssa’s van pulled in right behind Sung’s vehicle. She climbed out and started unlocking the back to let out Max, and so weapons could be grabbed. Herself grabbing the rifle Peter had loaned her.

Agent Powers then had his gear loaded on himself and put the snacks from his other backpack into his tactical pack. Then he stepped out of the van looking like an action character from a movie as his bulging muscles held his golden holy shotgun. Once he was out of the van it bounced a bit as if it lost a heavy load. Agent Powers looked around to see who was around them then gave a smolder to Alyssa and Peter as he said, "Let’s roll.”

Sartre had his Heckler and Koch MP5 slung over his shoulder. He kept his hand close by his Glock nineteen which was holstered on his side.

"Does anyone think that pastor Duane is down there in the catacombs? “Which way, Alyssa?”. He looked over to the pale hacker. He was surprised that the sun was shining outside.

“Over there,” Alyssa responded, pointing to the entrance down the alleyway. “I think it’s very likely the Pastor might be down there.” She figured anything was just guessing at this point

Agent Powers then asked, “Okay so do we capture the Pastor unharmed, somewhat harmed or kill him on sight? I need to know these things since most of my missions in the past were kill on sight.” Agent Powers then gave Alyssa and Peter a smolder.

Seeing that Eun-Ji exited the SUV, Choi was inquisitive enough to ask her a question. “What weapon do you have? I realize your illusions are defensive, but what can they do to an eldritch?”

“Why would we kill someone who is innocent?” asked Sartre.

Agent Powers rolled his eyes up as he replied, “Sorry man but this is my first team mission and I have been left out of the loop on mission details. Just to make it clear I need specific instructions on a mission. Normally I just kill my targets and destroy their base in the process. It’s rare for me to do a search and rescue mission.” Agent Powers sighed as he thought they knew about his past.

Sung shook his head surprised by the conversation. “We don’t need to kill anyone we don’t have to. I know we are part of secret societies the term is secret let us try to keep it that way. Our societies would just as soon as kill us than let their secret out.” warned Sung.

Sung gave a stern look to the others “So hide what you have on you or cover it at least. We are visitors and that is all. That’s what we want people to think,” said Sung buttoning his jacket.

“I am ready to go when you guys are. If you think it is better we can leave in groups until we get to the back of the buildng.” suggested Sung.

Alyssa shook her head, at Max, “Your past is a little of an enigma. I told Peter what I found out, clearly that wasn’t everything.”

The computer hacker had her pistol well concealed, in an ankle holster but the other weapon was a a rifle. She had on jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie, and no way to hide it. “Anyone got any ideas how I can conceal this,” indicating the rifle. Well she might have one idea but it would be a pain.

Before Eun-Ji had a chance to respond an SUV pulled up to meet them. It was her confidant, David. She excused herself and went over to catch him up to speed, retrieve the items she asked him to bring and give him clear instructions about keeping guard till they returned.

She removed her hanfu outfit to reveal her form fitting tactical attire beneath. It looked like a hybrid between antiquity and modern design; giving her the appearance of a tactically armored ninja built for both mobility and protection to vital places. Her twin hammers could now be seen strapped to each upper thigh.

The extra items she retrieved were placed into a backpack for now and she carried it back over to the group. On returning, she pointed to the hammers on her hips to answer Choi’s previous question. Her illusions could do harm, but she wasn’t about to admit anything about that until it was necessary.

As she waited for them to begin, she took a garment out of the backpack and began putting it on. It was a traditional style South Korean outfit that was designed to cover her combat attire.

As Alyssa was trying to figure out what to do with the rifle, she added. “The entrance is in that building, in the basement.” Pointing out the building. “From what I can piece together I believe the entrance is likely bricked off.” Of course, her bee ability didn’t just put stuff back together. It worked the other way, something which might come in handy.

Agent Powers thought about what Sung told them and scratched his head a bit. It did make sense not to run around in public with weapons hanging out. So he scratched his head and thought for a moment before he had an idea and went back into the van so he was out of sight and imagined himself wearing a brown leather trench coat. Suddenly his slime body moved into the shape in his mind and now it looked like he was wearing a trench coat. Oddly enough the clothes he was wearing as Agent Powers were made of slime so he could alter them as needed. He then made a gun strap under his coat to attach to the shotgun so he could hide it under his trenchcoat. Then he came out of the van with a grin on his face as he said, “Hey Alyssa I can hold that for ya if you need me to.” Then he gave her a smolder.

Choi grinned, bringing his hands together before him and bowing to Eun-Ji. She was proving to be well prepared to use the resources she had. In some ways she was beginning to prove to be a valuable partner. He knew she didn’t trust him. Hopefully, that would come.

He turned to Master Sung. “Let’s go!”

“Is the entrance to the catacombs inside or outside the church? Is there another entrance?” asked Sartre.

“I’m ready. lead the way.” Sartre said.
When everyone was ready Alyssa, because she knew the way, led the group to the building. Standard old brick church, done in a Spanish style, not uncommon for California but old, very old. “I don’t know what shape the building is in but it is very old, so, just watch your step.” Alyssa then pointed to a hallway on the right. "The stairs leading down should be that way.”

Agent Powers nodded and gave Alyssa a smolder as he followed her lead. He kept in mind the update to their mission since he had to rescue the pastor and maybe some others if needed. So he stayed alert and kept his wits about him as he put on his led headlight headband.

Sartre slowly made his way down the stairs, his pistol at the ready.

Choi stayed loose and limber, ready for any altercation. He tried to reach out for the pastor’s energy. However, he didn’t interact enough to have a good feel for the energy. He wished he wouldn’t have been so hasty upon meeting the pastor, but the young girl that was in the office needed help.

Alyssa cautiously navigated the stairs, as luck would have it they were in decent enough shape. They arrived at what was supposed to be the entrance but, as predicted, it was walled off, bricks blocking the way. Alyssa moved to the side, "I believe a few of us could take care of this, who would like the honors?”

Agent Powers rubbed his chin a bit as he looked at the wall. Then he tapped on it to gauge how thick it was as he nodded at it. He then popped his neck and turned to give Eun-Ji a smolder. Then he said, “As I recall we got a lecture on being to loud and destructive last time. Now I can easily bust through this wall but it would loud and destructive which are things I am very good at. Since you (pointing at Eun-Ji) are better than everyone around you why don’t you show us how to break this wall in a stealthy manner or do yuou need to call for some support?” Agent Powers was being petty and childish since he was only 18 years old inside the huge muscular body everyone else saw. Then as he looked at Eun-Ji he made his pec muscles move up and down so each side moved the opposite direction.

The wall didn’t make sense to Choi. Hearing Powers, Yeong said, “Something isn’t right. This is the path they would have taken to escape. So, either this wall was just built, which means the mortar would not have had enough time to completely dry, or it’s a fake wall and there is a lever or pressure point somewhere near.”

Choi began to feel around the walls, as he did not see any levers. For once, Choi had stopped and evaluated the situation before forcing himself impulsively ahead.

“What should we do?” asked Sartre.

Eun-Ji had to tap into a mountain of patience in regards to Max Powers pettiness in the middle of a dangerous venture. She glanced at her fellow Dragons with an incredulous micro expression and whispered in Korean. “우리는 바보를 상대하고 있습니다. 조심하지 않으면 그 사람이 우리를 죽일 거예요.”

(OOC: translation = “We are dealing with an idiot. Be careful or he is going to get us killed.”)

She was pleased that Choi had taken the opportunity to pause, think and check before going full steam ahead. This was encouraging progress and he was indeed on to something. While the wall wasn’t a fake door, it was clear on closer inspection that the mortar was newer looking than the other surrounding walls; too clean.

Not to back down from a challenge, especially when it was underhand pitched so easily, Eun-Ji moved to the front of the group where Choi and Max were located. She removed a spike from her backpack, which contained various climbing gear. She then started tapping with her knuckles over various points on the stone wall and listened to the sounds it made. Simultaneously, her chaotic intuition converged on a point of weakness. She took the nail and placed it against the mortar joint. She then retrieved the hammer from her right thigh and made a precise strike.

As the hammer moved through the air to the nail, the space around it warped causing the hammer to take on an animated appearance of stretch and squish as it moved swiftly towards it mark. The weapon accelerated miraculously as if time altered around it and sped up. Upon contact the nail was driven up to its head into the mortar. There was a single hammer hitting metal sound, that waxed and waned as if the Doppler effect was acting funny.

From the epicenter of contact there was a subtle ripple effect in a two foot radius as if the wall was displaced and behaved like a fluid to the eye. Everything settled and Eun-Ji returned the hammer to her thigh holster, ignored Max, and made her way back to her middle spot where Alyssa was positioned.

Ten seconds passed and nothing happened. Then there was a slight gritty shifting sound. A series of cracks could be seen from where the nail was driven into the wall and they spread randomly throughout the structure. The pieces started to crumble and give way in a slow, natural looking progression. When it was all said and done, the noise was indeed minimal and there was a hole just big enough for everyone to climb through one at a time, except Max. The break was not big enough for him. Eun-Ji had a pleased look on her face at the results; she had an inkling her probability of getting the hole to be small enough to exclude Max might manifest itself.

Alyssa let Enu-Ji, do her thing without comment. It was without a doubt a interesting way to go about it, and petty. As petty as what Max had said.

With a sigh, and a roll of her eyes, Alyssa only said, “Pardon me,” and walked to the wall that now contained the hole big enough for everyone except Max.

She touched the wall where the opening was, and it quietly crumbled down, leaving a much bigger opening, one certainly big enough for everyone, including Max, to fit through. Yeah, she probably could have done this before but figured to let Enu-Ji have it, only stepping in because the pettiness was ridiculous and holding them up.

Alyssa returned to her spot, without saying another word.

Agent Powers quietly watched as Eun-Ji made her small hole in the wall. It was impressive and she was indeed skilled. If also gave him a clue to her skills in the process she was not to be trusted. He then raised an eyebrow to Eun-Ji as she was all smug about her little hole in the wall. It looked like she did it on purpose to exclude him from entering and before he could say anything Alyssa fix the hole problem much quieter and easier. He then gave Eun-Ji a smolder before covering his mouth a shocked surprised look as he whispered in a girly voice, “Oh looks like some’s better than you.” Then he gave a big grin as he moved toward the hole and looked into it with his led head lamp light. If anything came out he planned on being a shield to protect Alyssa. Then he asked Alyssa, “Want me to go in first?”

Choi grinned as Eun-Ji did her thing, but winced when he saw the size of the hole. He was glad Alyssa could compensate, but took offense at Powers comments. The way Yeong had observed, they all had their specialties and abilities, and not one was better than the other.

“Powers,” he firmly said, “you may proceed, but do not make negative comments about my partner if you want to keep your smolder. She has been very effective. Let’s work together as our agencies have asked us to do.”

Eun-Ji appreciated Choi’s rebuke of Max’s immature and mistimed behavior. She had been wondering what faction his loyalty belonged to after seeing how quickly he collaborated with them earlier in this investigation.

She felt Power’s comment was unnecessary. He asked to put a passable hole in the wall without making much sound and she had delivered. It wasn’t her fault that he was supersized. Though it was sweet Justice; Chaos wasn’t an exact science, but it never seemed to disappoint her. It was irritating though that the Illuminati had wasted time asking her to do it when they already had someone present that could handle the situation with ease.

Now that it was time to enter into the unknown, several more versions of Eun-Ji fabricated into view around her; each identical to the original.

She did play around with sending one of them to make Max Powers break his own neck, but dismissed it for now. They might need him to tank.

Agent Powers grinned at the dragons before entering the dark hole. The led light on his head illuminated the walls and he saw a passage as well. He told the others what he saw and described any concerns he had. He continued to move forward before he let the others know that they could enter. He was on guard as he hand Alyssa her rifle and whipped out his shotgun.

Choi was cautious, but not overly. He didn’t sense anything yet. He remained focused before them, attempting to feel any presence that may be a threat to the team.

He walked through the hole that the two females on the team had made. He stood in the glow of the light generated from Powers’ forehead, closing his eyes, reaching forth with his senses. It recalled times that Master Park made Yeong fight blindfolded.

Sartre climbed through the entrance carrying his MP5 rifle behind him, he looked to see how the others were doing. “It’s very dark in here.” said Sartre.

Alyssa finally spoke up, “It would nice to have the pettiness not be a thing from both sides, during this mission.” Alyssa was to the point of aggravation, she didn’t even want to be in the tunnels but adding the back and forth between Max and Enu-Ji it was getting on her last nerve. “Let’s get out of here alive then you can both get back to annoying each other.” Alyssa also wasn’t convinced that Enu-Ji didn’t deliberately make the hole too small for Max. An advanced degree in physics meant she should have known what would happen. Alyssa then turned to Choi, “Look, the two of us have worked together just fine so far. I’d like that to continue, but don’t threaten one of my teammates. Especially, over words. Can we all agree to just tolerate each other long enough to finish this and not get killed in the process?” Alyssa was almost wishing that she was zapped out of here again without all the …damn …stuff that she had forgotten about, again.

Choi grinned at Alyssa. All along he had the feeling the teams would need to work together on this one. He couldn’t explain it, but as soon as he met Sartre and knew that he was also being watched by someone else, namely Alyssa, whom he hadn’t met yet, it seemed he got a gut feeling.

“Anyone ever tell you that your cute when you’re angry,” he said with a smirk. She reminded Yeong of a chihuahua nipping at someone’s heels. “Yes! I’ve known for a while Gaia would pull us together on this one. I’ve been open to that from the beginning.”

Eun-Ji stayed securely tucked away in the center of their processional train, near Alyssa. There was a total of four each interacting and moving with their own unique responses to the environment. With the darkness and distance traveled, it was now impossible to know for certain which one was the real one.

“Shhhh” Came a stern reprimand from one of them; which one was unclear. Eun-Ji was disgusted by the unnecessary chit chat and lack of professionalism. They were not on some pleasure stroll, they were in a perilous situation and at a disadvantage due to the unknown variables, lack of visibility and terrain. She did not want their ability to hear threats, or changes, in the darkness to be compromised by noise.

Alyssa bit back a half-smile, and rolled her eyes at Yeong, but didn’t get a chance to respond before hearing a “shhhh.” Probably from one of the Enu-Jis because if anyone said that it would be her. Alyssa just let it go. Damn, she missed the solitude of her van.

Agent Powers ignored the others behind him as he moved forward at a slow but reasonable pace. He kept a look out for traps, vermin and possible dangers both natural and man made. Every now and then he would encounter a rat and he just gave it a small kick. It would sent flying and before it died from the impact of a wall. Since he had experience with this before he only kicked it hard enough to break its bones without making it explode open. He was not to fond of the smell of dead rats in the tunnels since he knew they would be there a while. He didn’t say anything since he was focused on pressing on. As they continued on the dark tunnel he looked for any clues left on the walls that could be useful.

Choi silently walked beside Powers. His senses hyper. He figured he’d sense something before Max saw something.

He sniffed the air. “Hey Powers,” Yeong whispered. “What did you have for lunch? Mexican? Do me a favor and ease up on the refried beans next time.”

Of course, he was only joking with Max. It’s what those working together did. Talk smack.

Agent Powers smirked as he kicked another rat deep into the tunnel. The small squeak was the last sound it made before hitting a wall and getting crushed. He then spoke in a low tone, “Your funny Choi. I am not sure where you smell beans though, Mr. Secret Asian Man (from the song). Seriously though all I can smell is dead animals and mold in this place. Though they are annoying its good that we do see the rats though. It means no traps nearby. If we find a bunch of dead rats in one place it’s a good sign for traps. Also keep an eye out for odd marks to walls that look odd. It’s possible to find hidden passageways inside a tunnel to throw us off. The Cartel and Voodoo masters like doing that stuff.” Agent Powers continued to light the way with his head lamp.

The sound of the rats being kicked made Alyssa jump slightly. She took a breath and calmly spoke, to Max. “Maybe, you could leave the rats alone. They might be the only actually innocent things down here, and all the noise can only attract attention.” Really, the rats would probably just run from the group, why kill them?

The computer hacker was trying to keep her eyes peeled but everyone around her was taller than her, so it made it a little difficult.

Sung had been in the back walking with the others. Watching them and studying the way they reacted to things. The only thing sung was not keen on what the rats. the darkness did not bother Sung was used to working in places like this. He did wish the others would not joke as much and Sun figured they were nervous.

Sung A multitude of bodies locked together in death, fitting perfectly like one enormous body. Skulls in arches and rows broke up the pattern. Some had holes in them, some cracked and others smooth. All had the dull patina of age and seemed to be cemented together as if they had sunk into each other after years of standing here, sentinels to death. The ancient dead don’t smell and the earth scent. Certainly not unpleasant, more like a cave.

The teams walked for about 15 minutes. The echo of them walking could be heard it was almost impossible to be quiet. The dust in the air was heavy enough to be seen. there were some red night lights now and then in the ceiling. This helped to make this place even creepier. there was a turn in the tunnel as they went through the turn. Yeong could see that the dust started to flow to the right and through some bones. After a closer inspection, the Bones are arranged a little differently. Max and Yeong can feel the air moving in that direction when all of this is realized. Something is hidden there.

Agent Powers raised his arm to halt the others from moving forward. He moved his light around the area to illuminate it while looking with his eyes for anything that look odd. Then he spoke softly as he said, “Looks like we found a trap. Who wants to disarm it?” He didn’t take his eyes off the scene since he didn’t have time for a smolder.

“The air is flowing that way,” Choi announced. “It is dustier that way too. Either the air flow is pulling the dust that direction, or it is the path less taken.”

Yeong knew that just as in the jungle, more use means a path is hewn. Even the smallest of rodents leave a path of a heavily trafficked area. The path here would be less dust, as it would tend to cling to the feet of the travelers.

“What kind of trap is it?” asked Sartre?

Sung made his way to the front where Choi was. Sung looked around. then pulled out a small Tactical light flashlight from his jacket. then started to look around carefully. He passed to the far side opposite the wall they were looking at. Then turned to look at the ground and ceiling. Sung touched the dirt near the wall they were examining. brushing some of it away.

After Sung moved some of the dirt there were scrape marks from something sliding. “Not a trap but a concealed door I think,” commented Sung showing what he found.

“I can probably unconceal it.” Alyssa commented, as she moved forward. This time not wasting time asking others to do what she could quietly and quickly do, and with no equipment.

The young woman double checked for any traps or things that might be triggered, finding nothing, she put her hands on the bone. Was quiet for a moment, the bones disintegrated, falling quietly down.

Agent Powers was ready to grab Alyssa and pull her to safety in case things went wrong. He was no longer in a joking mood since knew of the many dangers inside tunnels. He watched for anything that was a threat.

“If there is a ladder to climb down, I can go down first.” Sartre offered.

There were stairs leading down in the tunnel. there was no light and did not look as old as the other tunnels they had walked through. This tunnel was more narrow. Agent Power’s head would be near the ceiling and his shoulders near the side walls. so it would be one at a time to walk down the stairs.

Agent Powers looked down the hole and lit it up with his head light. Since it was narrow he described it to the others and replied, “I appreciate the offer Peter but my dad won’t be happy if you and Alyssa got hurt. Its best if I was the tank on this part.” Agent Powers didn’t give a smolder as he responded. He looked very serious at this point. It was almost like he was expecting to get his by an ambush or trap at any moment.

“I got your back,” Choi replied to Powers, drawing the sword Sung had given him from the bag. “It’s best to be prepared.”

He looked at the others, “Powers and I will check it out and let you know if it’s safe.”

Agent Powers nodded as he slowly went down the stairs and looked around with his head light. He was looking for any possible traps and damage to the tunnel that would be a concern. The climb down as a problem as Agent Powers was rather big for the tunnel so he altered his form a bit to fit a bit easier down the ladder. When he reached the bottom he reverted back to his original big muscular form and looked around before Choi came down. He was very thorough in looking the place over.

“What do you see down there?” asked Sartre.

Agent Powers kept on guard as he looked around with his head light. Then after hearing Peter speak he replied, "Looks like an old tomb, but I don’t see any bodies yet. If it is a tomb we need to be careful of dead bodies, rats and poison from the dead. Stay on guard.”

Sartre walked down and armed his MP5. He swept the area for enemies, moving slowly.

Alyssa descended the stairs and looked around. “Catacombs have skeletal remains but not usually dead bodies.” Actual tombs with bodies should be elsewhere, still it did look very tomb-like. She kept her rifle pointed down but was ready, if something came at them.

Cjhoo looked at skulls piled atop one another. Hundreds of empty eye sockets stared upon them. He poked the point of his sword inside a few of them.

“Just in case,” Yeong declared.

Agent Powers looked at Choi with a raised eyebrow then replied, “Be careful doing that. Some Cartels I hunted in the past hid bombs in the skeletons and dead bodies to deal with grave robbers. I got blown up a few times before I realized what happened. Trust me you don’t want to dig yourself out of a cave-in. It’s not fun even if you survive.” Agent Powers had a pained expression on his face as he spoke. It was like he was reliving a horrible past while in the tunnels.

“Just checking for spiders or snakes,” Choi admitted with a smirk. “You never know in these places.”

From the other side of the room, there is movement in the shadows as everyone gets down the stairs and into the room. It was safe at first glance and there was nothing to detect. from a passageway, something starts to walk out of the dark with red glowing eyes.

Skeletons infuse its bones with a dark vitality, adhering joint to joint and reassembling dismantled limbs. This energy motivates a skeleton to move and think. An animated skeleton retains no connection to its past, although resurrecting a skeleton restores its body and soul.

The skeletons were in tattered clothing and carrying rusty machetes. They walk towards the party, 10 of them spreading out trying to encircle everyone.

Agent Powers popped his neck as he pulled up his golden shotgun and got ready to aim for the heads of the skeletons. He was serious and had no mercy for his targets. He then said to the others, “We got 10 skeletons ahead! Aim for the head and chest!” Then Agent Powers took aim and shot at the skeleton in the middle.

“Looks like I poked the wrong eyes,” Choi suggested to the others.

He immediately hurled the sword straight for the eyes of the skeleton in front of him. Dashing toward it, he intended to jump and do a forward flip over the skeleton while retrieving the sword from the skull. He rarely missed.

Eun-Ji readied her twin hammers and her clones formed a defensive perimeter around her. Being in the middle of the group, she and Alyssa were already surrounded with the protective expertise of the others. If all went well, then hopefully the threat would be neutralized before they had to take action. Regardless of this possibility, she remained situationally aware and got ready to react when the time became necessary.

Sartre raised his rifle towards the ivory formations. He burst fired three volleys, the sound of the anima charged mp5 Releasing bullets resulted throughout the walls of the catacombs.

Sung watched as things unfolded. His first thought was just to let the others deal with the skeletons. The skeletons walked forward with the sound of clacking bones. He also knew the guns there had no sound suppressors and the noise would be deafening. Not that he likes guns anyway for that reason.

Sung knew what he had to do to help out. Sung drew his sword and made a circular motion and a word was spoken. Then a metal ringing noise. As the ringing faded there was no sound in the area. Sphere centered on the group. The room was void of sound, not even talking or even the guns were heard.

Alyssa had a choice, she could wait which was what Eun-Ji had done or try to somehow shoot, from the middle of the group, around people that were all taller than her. That second option seemed difficult at the moment. So, she followed Eun-ji in not attacking but staying abreast of the situation.

Posted by : Cindy

The charm spell had ensnared her prey entirely; he was firmly under her spell, tethered to her will. He wouldn’t be slipping away anytime soon. Her gaze drifted above him, scouring the room for her Templar hunter. Engaging in the cat-and-mouse game brought her a perverse pleasure, even if neither player fully comprehended their roles. Both danced on the edge of awareness, manipulating each other with subtle finesse. The triumph, when it inevitably came, would taste all the sweeter for its hard-won victory.

Corinth moved closer. He could see the Empusa looking around, her arms draped over her prey in the corner. He slowly slid in between dancers, trying to stick as deep into the shadows as best he could, but it was hard with the lights spinning around the room. As he moved around a dancing couple, he looked eyes with Ivy.

She smiled a wicked smile his way and then pulled her prey through a door she was blocking from view. Corinth began to hurriedly push through the crowd, but it was a struggle. The party goers were packed in tight and he was doing everything he could not to start throwing people out of his way.

“Move,” he yelled, squeezing in between people, but the music was too loud to make any difference.

Finally cutting his way through the crowd, he made it to the door and flung it open, gun pointed forward. The room he entered was another large open area, but this one was filled with shipping crates. Slowly moving forward, Corinth needed to be cautious. There were ambush spots in almost every direction and if he dropped his guard even a little bit, Ivy could get the jump on him.

That’s when he heard the piercing scream of a man towards the back of the room. It started out loud, but was instantly cut short. Running in the direction it came from, the Templar started hearing a familiar wet sound he had heard more often than he would care to remember. Picking up the pace, he charged forward faster.

Rounding one of the last shipping crates, lying on the ground was the body of the man Ivy was with before, his chest ripped open and the familiar organ removed. Corinth squeezed the grip on his gun tightly in anger as he looked around for the monster. The blood trail showed that she moved away and towards a red container in the far corner next to a door marked exit. He grit his teeth and followed it.

Before he could even get close, something wet splattered on the floor in front of him. Corinth looked down and easily recognized it as a clump a shed skin. The Empusa was shedding the last bits of Ivy and that meant a whole new set of troubles for him.

He looked up and he didn’t need to track her anymore. She stood a few feet away, stretching her arms and back. All her clothes had been removed and there was only a few bits of Ivy’s skin still adhered to the Empusa’s. Corinth watched as she peeled a piece off of her face and then reached down and peeled one off her leg. Both pieces dropped to the floor with total disregard that they once belonged to another person.

Raising his gun, he pointed it directly at the monster’s head. “That’s enough! I’m not letting you leave here.”

Her hands moved down her body as if feeling it for the first time. In this case, it was the first time in a long time. She smiled that same wicked smile again and replied, “as if you have a say in that matter.”

Her hands moved up to her head, fingers moving through her oily hair. As she pulled them away in almost a dramatic fashion, her hair was suddenly ablaze with fire. It was such a surprise and so bright, Corinth had to avert his eyes for a moment before focusing them back on her. “Shit,” he cursed to himself.

A slender ring of fire ignited, coursing down her form, consuming the dried blood and any lingering traces of Ivy. As it descended to her legs, it seared away the flesh from her right limb, leaving behind a copper-covered appendage in its wake.

“Shit, shit,” he cursed again, whether it was in his mind or out loud, he couldn’t be sure.

Before him, she stood, her hair ablaze like a fiery halo, the copper leg gleaming in the dimly lit space. Assuming a defiant stance, she dared him with her gaze, silently challenging him to make a move against her. Licking her lips in anticipation, she smiled again, like a predator sizing up her prey. But Corinth wasn’t prey. He was another predator challenging her for dominance. For territory. For rights to rule the kingdom. And he never lost.

“Are you going to use that gun or continue to-”

Corinth squeezed the trigger, sending two bullets her way and slamming into her chest, causing her to stumble backwards in shock. Her eyes were wide and full of anger as she regained her balance. Keeping Powell aimed at her, he took a small step forward.

“How are we doing this, Ivy. Easier or hard?”

“My name is not Ivy. My name is Callista and soon, you won’t ever forget it.”

She turned on her heels and bolted for the exit door. Corinth cursed again and charged after her. Bursting through the door and knocking it off its hinges, she ran out into the night, heading up the road and towards the city. Corinth poured out right behind her, but she had a good head start on him.

As he gave chase, he noticed she was jerking from side to side, almost like she was getting attacked by something invisible, but she never slowed. And then, the worst thing that could have happened, did. A pair of wings burst from her back and began flapping. Corinth’s eyes grew wide in alarm and he started to open fire, but couldn’t. The city was in front of them and he wouldn’t be able to tell where the bullets would go once they left the chamber if they didn’t hit.

Three flaps from her massive wings and she was airborne. Not letting up, Corinth pushed forward as hard as he could, but he wasn’t going to be able to catch her on foot. Putting his pointer and thumb between his lips, he whistled calling to his side an old friend.

Posted by : Dblitz13

The whistle’s shrill cry sliced through the air with the precision of an arrow. Corinth dashed forward in pursuit of Callista, but the distance between them stretched further with each stride. In his periphery, the familiar light blue hue of his steed intensified, drawing nearer with each passing moment.

Pyrois surged forward with a swiftness that defied mortal comprehension, his spectral form gliding effortlessly above the ground. As he ascended, each stride propelled him higher, until he raced across the asphalt with a velocity that matched his master’s urgency. From his mane, brilliant blue spectral flames cascaded, while smoke billowed forth from his mighty exhales. His coat, a glossy onyx hue, shimmered under the flickering streetlights, casting an ethereal glow with each passing stride.

Corinth jumped on the hood of the next parked car he passed, stepped up to its roof, and then leapt of it to the back of the passing steed. It neighed loudly like the engine of a car when the pedal was pressed to the floor. Lowering his body mass to be closer to the spectral horse, the reduced drag allowed Pyrois to increase its speed more.

A red aura flowed off of Corinth as his shotgun formed in his hand out of the ether. It was locked, loaded, and ready to go, he just needed a clear shot at her. Pyrois dodged cars driving down the street, causing them to swerve left or right. The spectral horse even went up and over one that didn’t move out of the way in time. Its hooves digging into the hood and roof of the car before landing back on the road, never slowing down.

Looking up into the sky, Callista was moving fast, but Corinth was doing his best to keep up. He needed to slow her down or he was going to lose her once she made into the city, disappearing between all the buildings. His only option was to shoot her down.

Motioning for Pyrois to move out of the street and onto the sidewalk, Corinth took aim with his shotgun. The motion of the horse and the tall trees that passed by were creating havoc with his aim. With the shotgun shooting slugs, he didn’t have the added benefit of scatter shot.

His eyes darted forward and he saw a break in the trees. Through that gap, he would be able to fire on her and hopefully slow her down. If he could damage a wing, then he would be able to catch up and maybe even put her back on the ground. Maybe was a long shot, but it was all he had.

The gap in the trees approached and he took aim, leaning back on the horse, keeping his back straight, he pulled the shotgun across his front and aimed. As Callista came across his sights, he squeezed the trigger, sending a slug shooting through the air. With trained muscle memory, he spun the the shotgun around, loaded it, and re-aimed and fired again. The second shot was more wild as he didn’t have enough time to properly sight in his target.

The winged woman dipped to the right and dropped altitude as one of the slugs slammed into her right shoulder. She screamed loudly and her hair blazed even more, but she was dropping. Corinth watched as she vanished on top of one of the taller buildings in the vicinity and steered Pyrois in that direction, cutting across a small park to close the distance.

It didn’t take long for the spectral steed to pull up to the front door of the office building and Corinth jumped off of it as soon as it came to a stop. Corinth didn’t know what the building was used for, but there were many lights still on inside, which hopefully meant that the front door was unlocked. And it was.

He pulled the doors open and rushed to the nearest elevator. Luckily, there was one already on his floor and he rushed into it as soon as the doors opened. Pushing the button for the top, he waited as the elevator began it’s slow climb.

The music, or muzak, that played was very outdated, but then again, was any muzak not outdated? He reached into his pocket and pulled out his pill bottle, twisting the cap off, he dumped two pills into his hand. He looked at them for a moment and spilled two more out to join the previous. Tossing all four into his mouth, he swallowed them down and put the rest of the pills away.

The elevator doors opened with a ding and he moved out fast, looking for the stairs to the roof. The floor he was on held the more fancier offices. The offices of the owner of the company and CEO’s. Fancy art, expensive wooden desks, the works. He wondered why he didn’t have an expensive wooden desk at work and made a mental note to ask Dalia about that.

Following the signs, he found the stairs that led upwards to the roof access. Charging up the stairs, he rammed into the door, flinging it open and letting it slam against the wall. Shotgun raised, he made his way out onto the roof, the flaming hair Empusa waiting on him with an angry, yet wicked smile.

Posted by : Dblitz13

Corinth leveled his shotgun and fired. The thunderous roar of the gun cascaded over the entire rooftop, the flash from the muzzle, a brief lightning strike. The Templar flipped the gun around, reloading it much the same way The Terminator did in the movies and aimed it back at his target.

The blast hit her in the chest causing the Empusa to stumble back a step. She growled in response and lunged forward, propelled with a newly gained speed from her wings. In a flash, she had closed the distance and was in striking range. When she took her swipe, Corinth wasn’t there. Only a faint red haze of where he once stood.

Haste was a hell of a power. It allowed him to move faster than humanly possible, but only in short bursts. Short bursts that came in handy when evading fast moving demons. Once he was out of range, he turned and fired again, sending another blast into her left shoulder, removing bits of flesh in the process.

“We can end this now without one of us dying. I can put you back in the bottle, but at least you’ll be alive,” he said as he flipped the gun again.

She turned back to face him and growled. “To live in an eternal prison? I’d rather die!”

She lunged again, moving faster. Corinth shot, but she managed to strike the gun away, deflecting the bullets away from her and knocking the gun from The Templar’s hands. She grabbed Corinth by the throat, lifted him up, and then slammed him down on the roof, forcing all the air out of his lungs in the process.

“You should feel privileged. Not many humans have lasted this long against me and when they couldn’t kill me, they locked me away. You will not live long enough to do either.” She lifted him up again and tossed him across the roof. “But first, I want your heart pumping. I want it engorged with your fear.”

Callista began running towards Corinth with a look of predatory hunger in her eyes. He had other plans for her rather than becoming her dinner. As she drew closer, and he tried to get his breathing under control, he opened up his right hand as the red aura outlined his body. A yellowish light filled his hand and then shot forward as a beam of energy as bright as the sun. The blast sent Callista tumbling away from him and screaming in pain. Rising to his feet, he pulled Powel and Loy from their holsters and aimed them at her.

The sound of an approaching helicopter drew his attention. It hovered above the building for a few seconds. Long enough for someone to jump out and land with a mighty slam on the roof. It was Magdalena holding her Soul Ejector with both hands. The helicopter flew away once she had landed successfully.

“Oi, reckon ya could do with a bit of 'elp, mate.”

“How’d you know where I was,” he questioned her, focusing back on the Empusa.

Magdalena smiled and took up her position beside Corinth. “We ‘eard there’s this phantom horse gallopin’ through the city, innit? Thought to meself, there’s only one bloke daft enough to pull a stunt like that. Then, I just followed the blinkin’ lights, didn’t I?”


The Empusa rose to her feet, her hair blazing brightly in the night sky. All expression from her face was gone except for anger and savagery. All she wanted was to kill these two, everything else could wait. She wouldn’t be happy until all their insides where scattered across the city and their blood drained into the sewers. A fitting end to the ones that have caused her misery since she was released from her containment.

Magdalena charged ahead and swung her hammer. Still partially dazed from the sunbeam attack, Callista took the full force blow to her side and with a crack, went reeling away. Not wanting to give her time to recover, Magdalena jumped toward her, bringing her hammer down with both hands as if the demon was a nail. But the demon was gone. Vanished.

“Where’d she scarpered off to? Vanished into thin air, like a bloomin’ ghost!”

Callista sat off to the side, holding her injury and breathing heavy. She was invisible. Using the time to catch her breath and come up with a plan. She could simply leave, but that wasn’t an option for her. If she didn’t kill the Templars now, they would keep following her and making her life miserable. They had to die tonight.

The Empusa moved slowly around the two as she watched them looking around for her. The one with the hammer stayed her guard, but had no clue where her enemy was. The gunslinger kept looking around, aiming his guns in every direction. He also had no idea where she was. The Empusa smiled as she slowly stalked forward to Corinth. If she could take him out now, the one with the hammer would fall easily next.

Holding Loy out in front of him and Powell to his right, Corinth looked for signs of any movement. He knew the Empusa wouldn’t have given up so easily. Her pride was wounded about as much as she was.

“I don’t see her anywhere,” he called out to Magdalena. “I think she may have gotten the better of us,” he said as he holstered Powell. Then, he turned his head all the way to his left and looked at Callista face to face. His eyes were fully silver in color and he brought Loy around, pointing at Callista’s head. “Just kidding,” he joked, pulling the trigger at point blank range.

The shot forced Callista’s head back with a jolt that knocked her out of her invisibility. Corinth’s eyes returned to normal as he cancelled the See Invisibility spell. A spell he hardly ever used, but was invaluable when he needed it.

Callista recovered and shook the stars away from her vision. She let out a defiant scream at the Templars and her orange flames burned brighter. “Enough of these games! I will eviscerate you and swallow your souls as well as your hearts!” The Empusa dashed forward once again with renewed determination and strength.

Posted by : Dblitz13

It was suddenly quiet to the point of hearing your heartbeat. There was no sound; could not even hear the scraping of the skeletons.

Agent Powers fired his shotgun flame and smoke but no sound. what people could see was the recoil of the shotgun so in the people’s minds he shot it. Hitting center mass on the skeleton. it exploded into pieces flying back and hitting the floor. The pieces slid to a stop. Powers was able to get another shot off before they got there. It also exploited sending fragments all over Choi.

Choi with the expertise of a sword expert took a few steps and threw the sword it flew end over end. Jumping into the air flying over the skeleton as the sword cut the skeleton splitting its head and some of its chest bones. Choi caught the sword in the air as he landed. With a twist and swing cutting down another skeleton. then was sprayed by bone fragments from the last skeleton Powers shot.

Sartre raised his MP5 submachine gun towards the skeletons. He burst and fired three volleys, There was no sound of the anima-charged bullets there was no sound at all as the weapon fired. Some of the Burst fire hit the their marks chipping away at the bones of the skeletons as one fell two others lost parts of their bodies. The other bullets hit the back of the room with sparks and dust rising from the gunfire.

Sung drew his sword and made a circular motion and a word was spoken. Then a metal ringing noise. As the ringing faded there was no sound in the area. The sphere of silence centered on the group. The room was void of sound, not even talking or even guns were heard. moving the sword in another direction. Sung gracefully moved the blade, Sung turned the blade toward the ground.

Sung was gone from sight Briefly surrounded by a silvery mist that flowed through the group to the right side in the blink of an eye Sung stepped out of some silver mist that formed to the right side of the Skeletons with lighting speed he obliterated two of the Skeletons. Fragments flew from the powerful strikes from Sung.

The last three Skeletons turned to Sung they could sense he could be the most destructive and all attacked Sung at the same time. Sung looked like he was going to move right by them. He moved and two of the Skeletons missed with their blades. But the last Skeleton managed to get a hit on Sung’s left arm. Blood ran for the cut as Sung spun and moved away so as not to get surrounded.

Agent Powers saw that Sung had distracted the remaining skeletons as he took aim and fired at them again. He ignored the flying bone debris since it would just bounce off his muscular body as he took aim and was careful to not hit Sung with his shots as he pulled the trigger. He was glad the ammo seemed to work since he had encountered a few situations where he had been given the wrong ammo during past missions.

Choi’s chest, arms, and legs were riddled with sharp bone fragments. He had acted on impulse once again, and it caused him the pain of dozens of prickly bones stabbing him as if he were attacked by a giant porcupine.

With the adrenaline pulsing, Yeong did not feel the pain. He would have forced it out of his mind if he had. So, Yeong advanced and swung at a skeleton from behind, as its attention was upon Master Sung.

Eun-Ji’s ears were grateful for the silencing spell from Master Sung. Firing guns in a confined space, underground, was nothing like it was in the movies. Bullets that missed their mark ricocheted off the stone walls, and in some cases embedded themselves in the softer mortar or weakened surfaces. Bullets likewise reflected off the bones of the skeletons that fell victim, altering their straight trajectory at an angle to suffer the same fate as any missed shots. Eun-Ji was about to yell at them to stop using their firearms as she could have sworn a few bullets whizzed past them; however, there was no time to.

She remained safely tucked away in the center of the group with Alyssa. The four men where attracting the skeletons and dispatching of them rather easily. Eun-Ji couldn’t help but wince seeing Choi turned into a calcium pin cushion. Despite the chance to jump into the fray for the remaining skeletons, she continued to remain on the defensive.

The silencing spell allowed Sartre to take closer aim at the remaining skeletons. He focused specifically on one and looked through the front sides of the MP5. He decided to use his single shot “Red Mist.”, which would be a powerful blast to the skull of the undead creature. He was glad he did not have to hear the ricocheting of several bullets. The echo would be deafening.

Sung used the moment to back away from the skeletons. It was hard even to see Sung move. He was standing there in the blink of an eye 15’ past the skeletons behind them and on the left side of the group. Silver-gray mist swirled around his feet. His action getting himself out of the line of fire.

Alyssa still thought it unwise to try to fire around people, she wished her ability didn’t require her touching the skeletons as she had no intention of getting that close to the remains, at the moment. She, almost simultaneously, winced with Enu-Ji at the sight of the attack on Choi. The silence was welcomed, especially considering the ear assaults that would be happening right now. For now she just continued to remain as is, waiting and watching.
With the attacks of the others Agent Powers, Choi, and Sartre the last of the skeletons were destroyed. As the last skeleton fell from the gunfire so did the silence in the room. There were bones everywhere; this was a mess to behold.

It was a deathly quiet now eerie type of feeling. the smell of decayed bone, dust, and gunpowder filled the air. something was not far off something that instinctively made the group question themselves about what they were doing in the catacombs, more like a crypt now.

As the adrenaline wore off and his heart began to slow with Choi taking deep breathes, Yeong began to realize he was wounded. Looking down, he saw the splinters sticking from his body, as if he had been dragged over several cacti.

“Ouch!” Choi whimpered, plucking one from his chest. A small crimson dot showed from beneath his dobok. He looked up and said, “I may need a little help,” as he plucked another with a wince.

Alyssa went over to Choi. “Sung, I might need backup with this.” Knowing the older Dragon had healing powers. She said to Choi, “Unfortunately, this might sting a little. You might want to sit down, if you can find some place.”

Once Yeong was settled, she touched his arm gently, the splinters started to leave his body. She had to repeat this measure a few different places to make sure to get everything. Something noticeable happened, once the splinters hit the ground they disintegrated. Her mind had worked like this: fixing people was part of her power. She couldn’t fix everything though. Broken bones, cuts - sure. An internal organ not so much. But this was part of putting Yeong’s skin back together and in doing so it forced the splinters out. She had no idea the fragments would disintegrate like that. After about two minutes, and checking over Yeong twice, Alyssa finally said, "I think I got them all.”

With each gentle touch of Alyssa’s hand producing a healing from within his body Choi was amazed at what the petite one could do. Her abilities were proving to be quite useful, especially for Yeong’s rash actions.

Choi held out a hand and gently took her into his. His face displayed sincerity. “Thank you for helping a Dragon. As an Illuminati, you could have left me to my fate. I appreciate it.”

Choi stood back on his feet. “Now what?” he asked. “Should we look about, to see if they were guarding anything in particular?”

“Let’s check the ground and see if there are any tracks. Also; Look for anything that might have been dropped such as objects for rituals.” Sartre would continue. “Nice work on the skeletons everyone. Interesting healing action there, Alyssa.” said Sartre.

Agent Powers reloaded his shotgun while standing guard quietly as the others tended to their wounds. He kept his thoughts to himself for the time being. He scanned the area with his head lamp to see if anything remained from the skeletons or if any traps were triggered in the process. He then gave the team a smolder as he said, "I’ll take watch while you check stuff out.”

Alyssa gave Yeong a small smile at his words, “No problem.” The thought had never occurred to her to let the wounded Dragon continue to suffer. She was perhaps a little different than some or even most Illuminati because of that but it just wasn’t Alyssa to be that way. Bickering with words was a long way from wanting someone to suffer. Still, she either couldn’t or didn’t want to put all of that into words. “Working together, kind of means helping each other out, doesn’t it?” Her words were to Yeong, but were more directed at everyone.

“Thanks,” The hacker responded to Peter’s comment. Interesting? That could mean a lot of things, but Alyssa would just take it as a good thing. “I can help look.” She was looking to tracks but keeping an eye out for anything else they might need to know about.

“Agreed!” Choi said to Alyssa. He pulled on his dobok, revealing the small holes left by the splintered bones. “Now I have a aerated dobok.” He grinned at his own joke.

Looking about, Choi searched for symbols. Perhaps those of the cult had etched into the walls, much as the old Templars used to do. Too bad there weren’t any Templars with them. They’d probably spot things like that quickly.

Walking through the left archway there was another tunnel leading to the left. The tunnel leads off at a 45-degree angle. The tunnel is black and dry, with less dust and dirt there is an alcove a little further some clothing catches the party’s attention. With further inspection, it is filled with bones with more recent types of clothing mixed in with the bones and other personal items.

Between the two the entrance and the alcove a symbol. It would have been missed with everything going on. Sung pointed it out and looked in his notepad on his phone. It had several connections with the Warren, Carter, Florida, 1920 incident. The forensics Sung was working on was starting to come together. The upside-down pentagram with a flat circle in it. In the circle is a flam. Some runes on the inside of the five points.

With another pentagram on the ceiling of the entrance a little smaller and different markings.

“Does anyone have any idea what the symbols could mean? Have you seen them before Alyssa?.” Sartre carried his MP5 as dust fell from the ceilings of the catacombs. “Someone was definitely having occult ceremonies down here,” said Sartre.

Choi gazed upon the upside down pentagram. His lips tightened as he took on a more serious demeanor.

“This pentagram, being inverted,” Choi discussed, “suggests the idea of matter over spirit. I’ve seen it before. My mentor, Master Park, explained its meaning to me.”

He gazed to the one on the ceiling to try to discover the meaning of its difference.

Alyssa relayed the information about the Warren, Carter, Florida incident. Then started taking pics of the other symbols. “I’ll run the others through the database and see what comes up.”

She acknowledged what Yeong said and decided to keep that in mind and add it to whatever she discovered.

As the hacker was letting the database process everything, her eyes wandered around, glancing back over the ceiling, the walls. Wandering not far, just enough to see around a corner or two.

From the mysteries of the symbols yet to be decoded, came one that rang of familiarity. Lines curled into a swirling mass.

Alyssa’s brow furled, for a moment caught in a glimpse of the past, then it was gone. Why she looked down, even the young woman could not say. A glimpse of silver caught her eye. Kneeling down, Alyssa quietly picked up a coin. An antique silver dollar, encased in a silver holder. Her mind kept repeating it was a coincidence, surely the back wouldn’t…but there it was - the inscription. MW - fortuna sua fortuna - SM. The coin hit the ground suddenly, with a soft clang. Alyssa just stared at it, as if she expected it to bite her.

"Alyssa; that coin translates to "Luck is Luck. Is there something special about it? It seems to be bothering you. " said Sartre.

Agent Powers continued to scout the area for any new threats while guarding the team during their investigation. It bothered him that he was lacking in detective skills when he listened to the others compare information and share information. Though he didn’t plan on sharing his feelings with the others, it did make him feel a bit on the dumb side. Granted he was confident in his combat skills, but he was a poor student at best during his homeschool program. Max wondered if he would eventually learn some detective skills in time since he was now working with a team as being a solo agent. Alyssa seemed pretty smart and was like the complete opposite of himself when it came to brains and muscles. Then he noticed Alyssa from the corner of his eye and saw looking nervous about a coin. He asked, "You okay Alyssa?”

"Actually, in this case it translate to “fortune is luck”. Alyssa said, and took a breath. “It’s my father’s.” She said quietly. The two other IIlumanti should know why that was so disturbing, but Alyssa didn’t really know what Max knew about the situation.

Her gaze fell upon the Dragons, yes, they were working together she even kind of felt friendly towards - well some of them - but she didn’t want to tell them this part of her life. It felt like too much. However, it was also true they might already know.

“What would something of your father’s be doing here now?” asked Sartre.

“Good question,” Choi said.

He envied anyone knowing their father. Not that he wished all would not know their parents, but he knew neither father nor mother. Master Park was as much any father he would ever know, and he was old enough to be his grandfather.

“Is your father on our side?”

Alyssa shook her head, then answered the last question first. “Yes, he’s IIuminanti but - well - nothing of his should be here.” This was going to be complicated, if she didn’t just tell them. Alyssa didn’t need or want more complicated - anything. "He vanished five years ago, in Seattle. Most likely into a vortex.”

“A Vortex? Like a portal?” What caused the vortex?" asked Sartre.

“Is that what happened to you back at the church?” Choi observed with a question. “Perhaps it runs in the family.” Choi grinned, adding, “You truly are a mystery girl. Maybe we should call your van the Mystery Machine,” he jested, trying to lighten her mood.

Normally that Scooby Doo comment would earn a giggle out of Max, but right now as Agent Powers didn’t like the fact that this mission just got more complicated. If Alyssa’s dad was a hostage or enemy it meant he could not just kill him with the other enemies like he usually did. He took a deep breath and looked at Alyssa with a smolder before he said, “I know this sounds bad Alyssa, but can you show us a pic of your dad? I’d hate to get on your bad side if he was caught in the crossfire as we press forward.” Agent Powers was not sure how to say that any better since he was lacking in diplomacy skills as well.

Alyssa felt a little bombarded with questions, even if she knew that wasn’t the intention. This time to answer in order. She turned to Peter first. “I wish I knew.”

To Yeong, her response was a little longer only because it answered a lot. “We were on a mission five years ago, together. My father had been asked to investigate an abandoned mental hospital where disappearances had taken place. He had discovered a vortex. It was around day five. I was in my van, and he called me to bring him some tools. I went to bring him the tools.” Alyssa paused to pick the coin back up. “That’s all I remember. I woke up a few days later in my van. Ever since then, weird things, have happened. Like I’ll be one place, then suddenly somewhere else. Or the fact that I no longer remember my dreams, any of them. I used to remember all of them. So, yes I believe what happened at the church is directly related to my father’s disappearance.” She allowed a fleeting smile, Yeong was trying but her mood wasn’t there.

She left the data running in the background, but scrolled through a few pics. “Here,” showing them an image of a dark haired, brown eyed handsome looking man. "That’s him, but I get the feeling that he’s not here. That maybe this is a warning or notice.”
Choi respectfully bowed to Alyssa, the mystery girl. She had been a mystery from his first contact with her through Sartre. He respected her for her courage and her abilities.

“I explained to Master Sung that I believe this entity we seek almost killed Master Park, my mentor,” he explained. “So, we shall work together to seek revenge for our mentors: your father, and my trainer.”

Her father, yes. Her mentor? Alyssa wasn’t so sure about that. She though knew this was the wrong time and her relationship with her parents too personal to discuss, so she nodded in agreement, but then added, "If it is the same thing - I have an overwhelming feeling that it wants me. I can’t say why it hasn’t taken me, if that’s the case.”

Agent Powers did his best to memorize the image of Alyssa’s father but since he knew he would mess that up he whipped out his phone and took a picture of the screen image so he could see it more often to remind himself to not shoot him if possible. He replied, “Thanks. Let me know if we run into anyone else I need to avoid shooting at.” Agent Powers then gave a smolder before scouting the area again.

The database revealed answers, though Alyssa wished there were more. “It says here that. Randolph Carter went insane and an occultist named Harley Warren disappeared in a Florida swamp as he was investigating with Carter. Carter claimed that he had not killed Warren, but Warren had entered into a decaying mausoleum in the swamp and was accosted by several strange creatures that Warren could not describe before being killed. Carter, supposedly, ran away from the scene.” She paused, waiting to see if any additional information came through. "That’s all I have for now but I’ll keep running it.”

“How could the coin get here specifically and at all times, why now? Do you remember this coin?” asked Sartre.

“I don’t think we should dwell on questions we might never get answers to,” Alyssa responded. “I believe maybe it’s the …whatever it is…way of telling me that it can reach me anywhere. Or maybe it’s something else but without being able to ask my father we might never know. If anything else comes up, I’ll let you know.” They needed to get on to the actual pressing issue.

“Does anyone have suggestions, which direction we should go?” asked Sartre.

Choi gave an empathetic facial expression toward Alyssa. She and he, it seemed, had a common goal.

“Just give me a moment,” Yeong answered.

He began the slow methodical motions of dahnmudo. Eyes closed, breathing slowed, he began to reach out with his inner senses. The two ways were as different as night and day. One way, Choi sensed no presence. The other, pure evil. He had no way of sensing any mechanisms, as they would have no spirit presence.

After taking in the input, Choi opened his eyes, saying, “No spirit sensed that way,” he pointed to the right. Pointing to the left, he added, “That way….is heavy with evil.”

Alyssa sighed, “Well, I guess then we should head left.” Part of her really wanted to go right, though.

Agent Powers popped his neck and prepared his golden holy shotgun for action. He replied, “Left it is then. If Choi is right about what’s ahead, then Alyssa make sure you stay behind me. When all hell breaks loose.” Then he began walking down the left path.

“Then; I guess we’ll go left.” said Sartre as he reloaded the magazine to his MP5 assault rifle. “Alyssa, that purple talisman I gave you the other day, Do you have it on? Does it make you feel more powerful and confident when you use it?" he asked.

“Yes, I’m wearing it. And yes it does.” Did she need to feel more confident, Alyssa wasn’t sure. She was pretty confident but exploring catacombs with evil entities running around wasn’t exactly something she was used to. Still, she wore it, it made her feel better which made Peter feel better, she assumed. After all, this was the third time today he had made sure the hacker still had on the bracelet. So, she took it as important because it was important to him.

Choi looked at Eun-Ji. He had an idea that just might help bring the group fair warning of any traps or ambushes.

“Miss Moon,” Yeong inquired, “Do you believe some of your images can go ahead of us?”

Eun-Ji had been silent as the grave. Her attention was but partially on the group’s conversation and more focused on the uncertainty and unpredictability of their present environment. During her hunts with her older brother, she learned that evil was not like a video game where it just waited for you trigger hit boxes or arrive at certain locations. Evil could be calculating and easily be irrational, passive aggressive as easily as violent, and spinning a trap as much as on the assault. Though she looked calm, Eun-Ji was in her feeling of her chaotic potential; exercising her intuition.

She nodded to Yeong’s request. She spared one illusion of herself to venture down the path towards pure evil. It moved convincingly, as it held two hammers, like she was cautiously exploring. Her other illusions stayed with her. “One should suffice as bait, giving any ambush the confidence of an easy target.”

Sartre followed close behind the illusion, His rifle shouldered at the ready. He checked to make sure that everyone else was following behind the leading illusion. He listened for indicators Like footsteps or for signs like puffs of dust being moved across the dirt floor.

Choi waited for powers to move out, then followed. He held the sword down by his side.

Inwardly, Yeong was proud of his partner. She was utilizing her skills and abilities for the good of the party.

Posted by : Cindy